Cajun Black-Eyed Pea Soup


Today I thought I’d share a recipe with y’all because the rainy, cooler weather inspired me to make soup this week. I love this recipe because it is ridiculously EASY. I also have an unnatural love for black-eyed peas. In fact, this recipe might not excite others, but I personally, LOVE IT. It’s adapted from a recipe found in “Joy of Cooking: All About Vegetarian Cooking“.

You’ll need:

  • About 2 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, rinsed, sorted, and soaked
  • 3 medium stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 2 tbls Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbls louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 tbls salt
  1. In a soup pot, gently cook, covered, but stirring occasionally until tender all of the vegetables.
  2. Add the black eyed peas and the water.
  3. Simmer, partially covered for an hour or until soft.
  4. Slightly mash the peas to thicken the soup.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and enjoy! (I served mine with gluten free cornbread)


May 17, 2012 9:00 AM | Comments | Categories: Food, Recipes | Tags:

Choc’ & Cherry Cupcakes


Happy Thursday, Y’all! Guess what? I graduate with my second master’s degree TOMORROW! I’m pretty excited and overwhelmed with all the change that is heading our way in the coming months.

Here are a few pictures to make your mouth water, inspired from a recipe in 500 cupcakes called “Choc’ & Cherry” cupcakes.

I made these especially for Fran’s husband, Jordan. It was his birthday last week while they were on vacation, and this was my attempt to make up for not giving him a call on his big day!

Imagine cupcakes from scratch, made with dutch-process cocoa and fresh cherries, splashed with Kirsch Liquor right out of the oven, with a homemade whipped icing, sprinkled with chocolate shavings, and topped with a chocolate covered cherry. YUMMO! You’d forgive me, too, right?

Fran gave me this bake-book years ago, and it has not disappointed! Y’all should check it out!


May 10, 2012 11:27 AM | Comments | Categories: Cake Jubilee, Food | No Tags

Baja Tempeh Tacos


Mmm. YUM! Want to hear about a FRILLING spring/summer recipe? Fran turned me onto to these Baja Tempeh Tacos from Veganomicon a few years ago. They are absolutely delicious; it’s a real treat every time I make them!

Imagine marinated, grilled tempeh, avocados, homemade, vinegar-based slaw, and fresh lime crema. Fewer tacos are better!

Want the Recipe? Okay, but don’t let it fool you – these tacos are easy to whip up!

Baja Tempeh Tacos (serves 4-6)

What you’ll need:

Taco slaw:

  • 3 heaping cups shredded cabbage (I’m lazy and use the pre-packaged kind)
  • 1 carrot, shredded finely
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 pickled jalapenos, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a few twists of freshly ground black pepper

Lime Crema:

  • 3/4 cup plain soy yogurt
  • 3 tbls lime juice
  • 2 tbls grapeseed oil or avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Chile-Beer Marinade:

  • 3/4 cup beer, pilsner or ale style
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbls peanut oil
  • 2 tbls soy sauce (I use Bragg’s for a GF alternative)
  • 2 tbls lime juice
  • 2-3 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 (8 oz) package of tempeh (I double this)
  • 12-16 soft, corn tortillas

Prepare the slaw first:

  • mix all ingredients well in bowl (not metal)
  • cover the top of the bowl loosely with plastic wrap pressed down on the slaw
  • weigh it down with something heavy (can of beans, pickle jar, etc.), and refrigerate
  • allow slaw to press for at least an hour
  • squeeze out excess juice when ready to serve

Lime Crema:

  • blend all ingredients until cream and smooth
  • pour into an airtight container and chill for an hour

Marinade and Tempeh:

  • Whisk all ingredients and pour into casserole dish
  • Slice Tempeh into pieces
  • Cook Tempeh in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes
  • Marinade for 1 hour, flipping as needed
  • Cook in oven at 200 degrees on a greased grill pan OR in the skillet lightly oiled over medium high heat
  • Grill or fry each side for 5 minutes
  • In the last 30 seconds, pour on the remainder of marinade
  • Assemble tacos and enjoy!

What to do with the leftovers? When I make these, even after doubling the amount of tempeh, I am always left with extra slaw and lime crema. I have gotten into the habit of making a delicious salad so that these things do not go to waste! Here’s what I use:

  • spinach or romaine
  • slaw
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • crumbled tortilla chips
  • lime crema as the dressing

Yum, so good! I know these directions can seem a bit overwhelming, but it really is so easy to make. You should try it. You won’t be disappointed!


May 1, 2012 9:00 AM | Comments | Categories: Food, Recipes | Tags: , , , ,

Stuff We Love: Zoku Quick Pop Maker


Unbeknownst to me, my mom ordered a Zoku Quick Pop Maker, after she encountered one in a store one day.   This baby makes ice pops in 7 minutes flat!  It’s amazing.  I have no idea how the thing works, but it does!  We don’t have to wait 24 hours for our homemade popsicles to freeze anymore.  (You do have to pre-freeze the Pop Maker before use.) You keep the Quick Pop Maker in the freezer, and pull it out whenever you want to make a batch of ice pops.  You can even put fruit and nuts in your pops, or make exotic layered pops.

We made “Pink Pops,” my original recipe:

Fran’s Creamy Pink Pops

1 can coconut milk
about 2 cups chopped watermelon
about 2 cups strawberries
stevia, honey, or xylitol to taste

Blend everything together in the blender…

…Pour the mixture into your Zoku Quick Pop Maker (or your traditional popsicle molds if you’re using those), and 7 minutes later you have perfect, delicious, healthy ice pops!

April 30, 2012 1:29 PM | Comments | Categories: Food, For the Home, Recipes, Stuff We Love | Tags: , ,

Sweet Saturday: Orange Vanilla Bean Cupcakes


Happy Saturday everyone! Today my friends and I threw a baby shower for our dear friend, Melaina. I made these fun cupcakes that I saw earlier this week on Annie’s Eats. Love that blog. Thanks to my friend Kelly for staying up super late with me and for making the candied oranges that topped the cupcakes!

Now, Lyle and I are headed to Austin for Fran’s birthday party! We will be having a crawfish boil and lots of yum summer treats. What’s making your Saturday sweet?

April 14, 2012 1:45 PM | Comments | Categories: Food, Parties, Sweet Saturday | Tags: ,

Happy Weekend


My heart is full from a happy weekend spent with friends.

pretty new fabric  / white peach & strawberry margarita

gluten free strawberry short cake / spontaneous trip to sketchy street fair

tan-line from doing what i love most / Sweet Lyle’s gluten free pizza recipe


What made your weekend lovely?

April 1, 2012 7:44 PM | Comments | Categories: Food, Stuff We Love | No Tags

Easy Chicken Nachos


Hello friends! I want to apologize for not being very enthusiastic on the blog lately. Ever since I arrived home from Greece, I have been trying to fight a nasty cold, and it doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere! All that to say, I haven’t had too much energy, but I thought I’d share an easy recipe that was really helpful when I wasn’t up for cooking this week.

Not too long ago, I found this recipe from Pinterest for crockpot chicken tacos. The recipe was so simple that I knew I had to try it. All you need is:

  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 4-6 chicken breasts
  • Jar of your favorite salsa

Put all of the ingredients into the crock pot for the day, shred the chicken when it’s done, and voila! Easy chicken filling for tacos. I was pleasantly surprised when we first tried it because it was extremely flavorful and delicious. There were a lot of leftovers, too, so we had them the next day as well.  By the third day, I wondered what we could do with the rest!

Here’s what we came up with:

  1. Spread refried beans onto tortilla chips.
  2. Place the chicken taco filling on top.
  3. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  4. Broil, and enjoy!

We ate them with sour cream, guacamole, and jalapenos, naturally. It was a very easy treat, and I highly recommend it!


March 29, 2012 10:00 AM | Comments | Categories: Food, Recipes | Tags: ,

Stuff We Love: Fran’s Kitchen Picks


I love to cook.  And I’m a Nutritionist, so I really love to cook healthy meals.  I’m also a vegetarian, so I really really love to cook healthy, vegetarian meals.  I don’t call myself a gadget person, but over the years I’ve found that there are several gadgets that help me out in the kitchen.  Here are a few of my favorite, most indispensable kitchen accoutrements:

(Sorry there are no photos; WordPress doesn’t want to upload photos today.)

Cuisinart 14-cup Food Processor

My MIL gave me this guy some years ago, and I love it.  It’s sturdy and convenient, easy to clean (top rack of the dishwasher) and plenty big for my purposes.  I use it all kinds of ways, including to make pie crusts, hearty dips like Hummus, Spinach Walnut dip, and White Bean dip; and Cashew Cheese Cake (yummo!).

Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender

If you have this guy, you don’t need a real blender.  Really, I haven’t used my blender ever since I got it for Christmas (from Aurelia) several years back.  It’s powerful.  I make smoothies with greens and frozen fruit with it.  I puree soups with it.  I have been known to puree baby food with it.  It’s smaller to store than a stand blender, and it’s easier to clean.  Win.

Microplane Zester

This is a recent acquisition, but I don’t know what I did before I had it.  When you cook with fresh vegetarian ingredients, often that zest of lemon or grated ginger is the key to great flavor.  I don’t use this every day, but it’s a frequent helper, especially for fresh salads and pasta dishes.

Pressure Cooker

We eat a lot of beans at our house.  And the healthiest, cheapest way to eat beans is to cook them from dry.  There are less cans to recycle, less cost per volume, and less chance of BPA-tainted beans.  But unless you have a pressure cooker, beans take forever to cook from dry.  The hours of soaking, the hours of boiling…  no more.  A pressure cooker gives you beans from dry to tender in 30 minutes flat (depending on the type of beans; larger beans take longer to cook).  You can cook pretty much anything quickly in a pressure cooker, including rice, stews, and grains.    Especially if you cook beans frequently, the pressure cooker is a time-saving winner.  Read the manual on your pressure cooker and use it properly.


Do you have favorite kitchen gadgets that help you out?  Share!




March 26, 2012 1:22 PM | Comments | Categories: Food, Stuff We Love | Tags:

Sweet Saturday: Gluten free cupcake inspiration (guest post)


Happy Saturday everyone! I should be landing in Istanbul, Turkey right about now. Next stop – Greece! I’ll be gone for 9 days, but I have a string of posts set up for the week. For this first post, I’m happy to introduce you to our first ever guest blogger (who just so happens to be my sister), Alicia. Alicia blogs about her life as a stay-at-home mom, military wife (and air force veteran), and Christian. Alicia, you FRILL me!

Many of you may not know this, but baking and artistic presentation is definitely in my family’s bloodline. From my mother, who made enviably creative and delicious cakes when I was a child, to my sister, Aurelia who makes beautiful and delicious sweets of her own, to my older sister, Angela,  who creates unique and artistic cake creations that most would never attempt!

I, myself, prefer cooking over baking, where I don’t have to use measurements and where I have fun coming up with my own recipes.  However, as a mother to a toddler, the inevitable has happened. I must bake…for my toddler’s preschool class, for church, for her birthday, for the holidays.

So, this Sunday, our women’s group at church had a bake sale fundraiser. Wanting to bake cupcakes, but also wanting to do something creative, I came up with some requirements:
Here were some requirements that I had:
1. Must be gluten free. (Thank you Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix)
2. Must be milk free. (Thank you Earth Balance soy butter)
3. Must be delicious. (In my opinion, the chocolate gluten free cake mix not only tastes better, but has a better texture, more comparable to cupcakes made with wheat flour).
4. Must be lovely.

I found inspiration on Pinterest, and with ideas swirling in my brain, off to the supermarket I went. The first thing I saw when I walked into Super Target was beautiful, fresh strawberries! The idea formed instantly. Chocolate cupcakes with strawberry flavored icing, garnished with a strawberry.

Lovely, delicious, gluten free, milk free, but definitely not guilt free! They were a huge hit!

March 10, 2012 10:00 AM | Comments | Categories: Food, Sweet Saturday | Tags: , ,

Frilling Friday: Sniffles and Chocolate Cake


Hello and Happy Friday.

I certainly hope you got more sleep than I did last night, what with being up half the night with a feverish, teething tot (teething? oak pollen? a spring cold? all of the above?). Last night it stormed and turned cold, so we’re having one last winter’s hurrah today here in Texas….

… snuggling up and consoling ourselves with warm soup and our favorite toys (Stripes the bunny and Rocky Raccoon, in her case; my knitting, online bill pay (ok not a favorite),  and The Paris Wife in mine).

Today I’m also planning to make a Aunt Betty’s Chocolate Pound Cake for a gathering of friends this evening.  This is not low-cal, folks.  Make it at your own risk.  I’ll try to post a photo once I get it made.

Aunt Betty’s Chocolate Pound Cake

The Stuff:
2 sticks butter
1/2 c shortening (I use non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening)
3 c sugar
5 large eggs
3 c flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1 c milk

The Do:
Mix butter and shortening.  Add sugar and salt. Then add all 5 eggs at once.  Now mix in the remaining ingredients.  Bake at 300 for 2 hours.

Pretty straightforward, right?  Aunt Betty is a pretty straightforward gal.

March 9, 2012 1:02 PM | Comments | Categories: Baby Fashion, Food, Frilling Friday, Recipes | No Tags
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fran & aurelia

Fran likes knitting, cooking, reading design blogs, curating her home, and wearing chunky jewelry.

Aurelia likes baking, fashion, hosting lovely dinner parties, and laughing at clever and witty things.